+ Hemming Jeans While Keeping Original Hem

One of my High School buddies, Mindy wrote this on my Facebook page 
“Hey Liz…I was wondering if you could give me a hint on how to hem pants so they still look like the original hem. Being a whopping 5’2″, I’m in need of some shorter pants!!! Thanks, and I look forward to seeing what else you post on your blog!”

Thanks MINDY! As requested here is a tutorial for hemming jeans and keeping the original hem! Well, there are actually 2 ways, both easy, but one is quick and one takes a little bit more time

1. Unfinished European or Original Hem: the quick and easy, but not as pretty underneath way…best for mommies like me.
Make sure you are on a flat surface and wearing shoes. Fold up and pin. Make sure you still like the new length when you walk around.
Turn jeans inside out and measure the bottom of the jean to where you put the new desired length or fold when pinned up – this measurement is the exact amount you want to take off (RED). For me it was one inch. Then take that measurement and measure from the top of the original hem (this is not the very bottom, but a half inch from the bottom where it has been folded) and mark. This will be your new hem line! (WHITE) For example, I took the one inch measurement and marked one inch from the old hem line or top of fold. 

RED: the measurement from the desired length or fold when pinned up (If you don’t want to keep the original hem then that fold line would be your new hem line). From this you just want the measurement.
WHITE: the amount you measured in RED, now measured from the top of the hem or original fold, this is your new hem line.
Once you have marked the new hem line (WHITE), then turn pants right side out and start lining up the just a little off the top of the original hem to the new marked (WHITE) line and pin! To make it easier, you can divide the measurement of the amount you are taking out by 2 (for me it was an inch divided by 2 = 1/2 inch) and with a ruler measure that “halved” measurement all the way around as you fold and pin.
Then trim off the fold. At this point you can use your serger, a zig zag stitch, straight stitch, or whatever to prevent  fraying and to make it more clean looking. Then flip the original hem back down, putting the trimmed edge inside and hidden. This is the most important part to making it look finished — Iron down as flat as possible, pulling the seam in different directions as you iron to get the flattest look possible. And you are DONE! OPTIONAL: you can run a top stitch a smidgen to right (towards bottom) of the new seam to make the new seam even flatter (as long as the thread matches exactly). Easy and takes only 10 minutes…….unless you want to do a fully hidden European hem, then don’t run that top stitch and continue below!

2. Professional (looking) European or Original Hem: the fully hidden and takes a little more time, yet pretty underneath way to hem pants – like you bought it this way.

Follow the same steps from above, but unstitch the original hem, this can be done at the beginning or now. FYI – before you get knee deep in this project, you might want to have the pant’s matching colored thread (whether it is yellow, blue, or black).
Trim the bulky excess fabric that is in the opened, original hem and anywhere else necessary. This is necessary because it will look flatter and be easier to sew over. Since we will be adding even more fabric into the fold.
Iron the trimmed, excess fabric form new hem down into the original, now open, hem fold. 
Then fold back into itself and pin. The folded in part is how nice it will look on the inside in the end. Totally hidden!
Stitch very close to the top of the new hem to make it lay super flat and look like it was bought that way. If you don’t sew very close, then it will look like you added a strip of fabric to the bottom of your jeans.
  DONE! Easy peasy! Can you tell….I hope not!


  1. Great tutorial! I love the European one where it wil hide the sergeres hem! I’m also on vertically challenged club (5’1″) and have to hem all of my pants. A little tip i learned from an older lady at my local sewing shop-hammer the hem at the seam line to make it easier to sew over. When I say hammer…Yes, I mean with a hammer from the garage. I was skeptical at first but it does the trick! I keep a little hammer and a small 2×4 block in my sewing room just for this reason :) Happy sewing!~

  2. I dont understand why you divide by 2, wouldnt that make the hem longer than you originally intended?

  3. Thank you so much for this turtorial, I have been searching everywhere! I can see why people would want to do the easy way and apparently the new thing is sewing extrememly close to the hem and just folding extra material , which is just not for me.

    You have been very helpful and again Thanks!

    • I agree Renfro. This is the correct way to hem jeans with the original hem. I use to work with designer jeans at Bloomingdale’s so I know what an original hem by a tailor looks like since our tailors in store were always cranking them out. Just like Liz did in this tutorial! Congrats for being on of the few (believe me I looked) people online to show the correct way to hem jeans with the original hem. Most tutorials do not look the same on the inside as they originally did. If you do it the correct way (like Liz did) it will.

  4. Having read this I thought it was really informative. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  5. You should take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the internet. I am going to recommend this web site!

  6. Excellent post. I’m facing many of these issues as well..


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